Offbeat | The Season of Hobbies: New Pastimes I’m Picking Up from the Internet

Offbeat is a bi-weekly blog offering new and meaningful takes on all things media.

By Jillian Rowan, Staff Writer

Bored? Me too. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately to combat the winter blues.

  1. DJing 
Jillian Rowan with her DJ desk. (Image courtesy of Jillian Rowan)

This is a fan favorite! Since I can remember, I’ve always had a deep love for EDM, techno and house music. I’m in awe of DJ sets by Fred Again.. and Disco Lines, so I thought I’d give it a shot! I picked up the ​​Numark Party Mix II — it’s nothing super advanced, but it has all the essential components of a proper mixer board — and disco lights. The controller also comes with the music production software Serato, which allows you to mix music within the program.

Besides your DJ deck, all you need is a laptop, a speaker and headphones, all of which most college kids have on hand. Numark and Serato are a great pairing, since the programming does a great job of creating a seamless experience between the DJ deck and laptop. After tinkering with the mixer board for a couple of weeks, it starts to feel super intuitive. I gravitate toward my deck after a long day as a stress release or to get the night going before a fun weekend evening. I also love having friends over to play around with the board. DJing is inherently creative, fun and social, and you don’t have to be a professional!

  1. Cricut Printing 

So, this might be cheating because I haven’t technically started doing this yet. But never mind that, it’s on my Christmas list! Cricut printers are perfect for creating custom items like stickers or clothing. These printers employ a small, movable blade that cuts through paper, laminate or whichever material you choose to complete a pre-designed pattern. If you’re artistically in tune, you can create your own design in the Cricut software or app, so the possibilities are expansive.

It’s also perfect if you want to start printing custom items for yourself and your friends. I’ve seen a lot of content on TikTok, from step-by-step instructions on operating your Cricut to fashion-forward design inspiration. This side hobby can even flip a profit — many people use their Cricuts to start their own clothing lines, such as AllAliMakes by Ali Hendricks, a University of Miami student. With her Cricut printer, she creates laminate graphics she can iron onto her merchandise. And just like that, she’s ready to sell!

  1. Cooking

So I watched a couple of Instagram Reels and TikToks, and suddenly I learned how to cook? Of course, that’s hardly the case, but it’s how I feel after saving videos of recipes to try out. Social media, in my opinion, is surprisingly a much better place to find recipes than cookbooks or websites. Platforms like TikTok are entirely visual and quicker-paced, so I can forgo scrolling about 3 million pages on a recipe site just to even find the ingredient list.

On TikTok, I follow @aichasrecipes, a creator of simple but tasty meals, @faithsfresh, who inspires health and wellness, @chloeranshaw, the chef behind the “making dinner for my boyfriend” series (can the entire Internet be her boyfriend, too, please?) and @samanthagarciaz, the go-to gal for delicious college eats.

TikTok has been integral in my own improvement of my diet, meal-making and even grocery-shopping skills! With specific recipes in mind, I buy what I need, keeping a few extra bucks in my pocket. I used to rotate between the same few basic eats constantly, but I’ve now explored many new foods I can use for various yummy and healthy meals.

  1. Mixed Media Art

I am, again, giving all my thanks to TikTok. I think that getting crafty and making your own artwork — especially using various mediums from canvas to sneakers — is so rewarding. For example, in Bella DiPaolo’s video, she creates a hanging canvas piece with restaurant guest checks, red paint and sealant. Recently, I’ve seen a bunch of crafty art that employs multiple mediums, and I’ve been trying it out for myself. I just purchased a skateboard deck from the Blick art supply store in Shadyside, and I will attempt painting it to hang on my bedroom wall.


yay #foryou #FYP #keepdriving #harrystyles #harryshouse #hslot #drawing #painting #art

♬ Keep Driving – Harry Styles


Well, that’s what I’ve been up to with my free time as of late.

I think I’ll be saying goodbye to most of these hobbies come finals week, swapping home-cooked meals for to-go food on Forbes and muting the turntables for the silence of Hillman. I’m looking forward to some free time over winter break and hopefully picking up some new amusements!

Jillian writes about a range of media topics. You can reach her at [email protected].